High drama prevailed during proceedings of the legislative council last week. Former state minister and senior Opposition legislator, Sunil Tatkare, threatened to consume poison inside the House over allegations levelled against him by the ruling party. The suicide threat was preceded by an angry exchange between him and Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil. Tatkare had alleged that some Gujarati pages had been inserted in a geography textbook printed in Marathi for Class VI students, to which Patil allegedly accused Tatkare of inserting the pages. This is said to have infuriated the latter, who threatened to commit suicide. According to sources, Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar stepped in to restore order and adjourned the House.
Retired senior bureaucrat Bhagwan Sahai has finally bagged an assignment with the Centre. The 1984-batch IAS officer, who retired as an Additional Chief Secretary with the Maharashtra government in January this year, has joined as a member of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), and will function out of Mumbai. Sahai had earlier applied for a position with Maharashtra’s Right to Services Commission, but sources said the Chief Minister’s Office was not very keen on appointing him to the post. Sahai had been relegated to a side posting in his last year of service, following an agitation against him by state employees.
Fight To The Finish
With Additional Chief Secretary (co-operation) S S Sandhu retiring at the end of this month, the corridors of power are abuzz with lobbying. Sources said jockeying for the coveted post had been intense as several senior bureaucrats were eyeing it. As the department head, the co-operation secretary is the chief executive of the government’s multi-crore farm loan waiver scheme. The official also oversees financing and re-financing matters of district cooperative banks, besides matters involving cooperative housing societies. All eyes are now on who gets Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s nod for the post.
Shake-Up On Cards
Amid farmer suicides and a deepening agrarian crisis, the Chief Minister’s Office is banking on a fresh start. A major shake-up is on the cards in the top management in agriculture-related sectors, confirm top sources. It is more of a forced one, say sources. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, sources say, will announce a full-time agriculture minister after the end of the current session. With Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture and Marketing) Bijay Kumar and Animal Husbandry Secretary Kiran Kurundkar retiring next month, a hunt has begun to find their successors. Sources say the co-operation department will have a new secretary by this month end, while the CMO is also planning to nominate an IAS officer for the post of Commissioner (Marketing).
Some of the senior IPS officers in the Mumbai Police are said to be literally losing sleep over an initiative meant to improve the police’s outreach to residents. About a year ago, the Mumbai Police top brass had decided to share mobile numbers of senior officials on its website to improve the public feedback network. The trouble, some of the officials said, was that the numbers were provided in descending order of seniority, which meant that people would ring up the higher-level officers even for complaints that can be resolved at the local police station level. A senior IPS officer, who was recently shifted out of Mumbai, recounted how being repeatedly woken up mid-sleep affected him. Striking his name off the list was among the first things he did after being transferred. He says he now sleeps soundly.
Chai Pe Charcha
Tales abound in the corridors of power on how a popular coffee shop near Mantralaya is fast becoming a favourite hangout of top civil servants and middlemen to discuss matters that cannot be openly discussed within the four corners of the state Secretariat, sources say. Regulars at the cafe say that a top CMO official is among the frequent visitors to the hangout.